New test results show some fitness trackers are consistently inaccurateSteps and calories often miscalculated

22 September 2016


The Fitbit Alta was tested in our latest batch of fitness trackers.

Our most recent fitness tracker tests revealed that some devices regularly miscount steps and calories, including one that overstated calories burnt by more than 80%.

Our tough fitness tracker tests put 10 of the latest devices through their paces, including the Fitbit Blaze and Microsoft Band 2. One of the fitness trackers we tested overstated calories by a whopping 84% when used while walking, meaning it could tell you that you've burnt 184 calories instead of 100 - enough to make you think you've earned those extra chocolate digestive biscuits. 

We also found several devices that struggled to accurately track steps, overstating step counts by up to 35%. With dodgy data like this, you’ll struggle to know when you’ve met your step-count goal for the day, as well as making it tricky to maintain a calorie-controlled diet. 

It’s not all bad news, though, as two trackers perfectly captured steps while walking and running – meaning you’ll know exactly how many steps you’ve taken over the course of the day. The top-scoring device from the batch accurately tracked distance, steps and calories burnt while walking and running.

Find a fitness tracker that can keep pace - check out our Best Buy fitness trackers.

The new fitness tracker test programme

As part of our ongoing aim to ensure testing reflects how people use their devices, we revamped our fitness tracker testing in the summer of 2016.

You can trust that a Best Buy fitness tracker will provide accurate activity data, be comfortable to wear and have useful features, such as heart rate monitoring or smart notifications. The worst will give wildly over- or understated data, have uncomfortable wristbands and lack features that make them useful.

We test every fitness tracker in a range of different scenarios to find out how they perform – from day-to-day use as well as both in and out of the lab. Our test participants walk on a calibrated treadmill at 4.8km/h for 10 minutes and run at 9-10km/h for 10 minutes, as well as going through a routine of daily tasks, including unloading a dishwasher and walking while carrying shopping. This means we can compare how well each fitness tracker logs steps taken and distance travelled.

To find out more about our new and improved test programme, visit how we test fitness trackers.

Just in: new fitness tracker reviews

Click on the links below to read individual reviews:

(Prices correct as of 22 September 2016.)

More on this...

Browse all our fitness tracker reviews

Use our interactive tool to choose a fitness tracker or smartwatch

Discover how to buy the best fitness tracker